The 2018 NBA Draft was one of the best of the decade for the Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte Hornets Devonte' Graham and Miles Bridges. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Devonte' Graham and Miles Bridges. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Charlotte Hornets
Charlotte Hornets Miles Bridges. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

For the Charlotte Hornets, it’s really been hit or miss over the past ten years in terms of the NBA Draft. The 2018 draft, though, while recent, would prove to pay almost immediate dividends for a team looking to rebuild.

When I say names like Noah Vonleh, Malachi Richardson, or Jeffery Taylor, most Charlotte Hornets fans would likely roll their eyes and wonder what the team was thinking when they selected those guys in their respective NBA Drafts.

I don’t mean to be dismissive of those players, or any of the others Charlotte has selected over the years, but let’s just say that only a very small handful of picks this past decade have actually worked out. To add insult to that, there are a few guys the team missed on completely or possibly should have kept around, rather than trading them away.

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Well, you know what they say about hindsight, but one NBA Draft seems to have worked wonderfully for the team and that took place just two years ago. In a decade full of head-scratchers, this one stands out nearly as well as the one where they drafted a future three-time All-Star… just nearly.

Before we get to that, though, let’s talk briefly about where the team was before that draft. Gone were Head Coach Steve Clifford and General Manager Rich Cho. Replacing them would be first-time Head Coach James Borrego and long-time Los Angeles Lakers GM, Mitch Kupchak. This would be Kupchak’s first draft with the Hornets.

The team had just finished 36-46 for the second straight season and Kemba Walker had become the franchise’s all-time leading scorer back in late March. This was a team in transition in more ways than one, and that fact would further be proven as this would be Walker’s final year in Charlotte.

Looking back, a lot of questions were being asked, mainly about their star point guard’s future and how they would possibly replace him, should the team be unable to retain his services. When draft day came around, fans were hoping the Charlotte Hornets wouldn’t have to draft his replacement, but it would appear they were doing so when they drafted Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from Kentucky.

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In a bit of a surprise move, however, the team would then trade the rights to Gilgeous-Alexander to the Los Angeles Clippers for the rights to Miles Bridges, out of Michigan State, who L.A. selected one pick later, along with two second-round picks.

Miles would immediately go on to become a contributor on offense and on the highlight reels, but at the time, a lot of experts and fans on social media were questioning this move, especially since the team would need a future point guard in case Kemba Walker would not be re-signed. This would eventually be taken care of, but that night, people were initially befuddled.

The Charlotte Hornets were once again busy on the trade front in the second round. It turns out that worked out okay as well.